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The LGBT March on Washington

Mar. 7, 2017
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/

As part of a nationwide show of support for the current regime, Gays for Trump planned to rally in D.C. last Saturday. Appropriately enough, LGBTs were to congregate around our national paragon of obelisk envy, the Washington Monument. That march apparently attracted about as many gays as a dry P-town tea dance. In fact, among the flag waving whites around the country I didn’t notice a single rainbow standard although there were Confederate ones.

Meanwhile, there’s been a bit of discussion about the other LGBT March on Washington, D.C. Announced in January, the June 11 scheduled event conflicts with some of the country’s traditional Pride celebrations including Milwaukee’s. “Why,” someone naïvely asked on social media, “does it have to be in June?” The obvious answer is the historic June 1969 Stonewall Uprising, silly. Its commemoration is the reason for Pride celebrations that, coincidently, also take place in June. Aide-Memoire: “June is busting OUT all over!”

Anyway, some Pride organizations voiced concerns that the massive March on Washington would negatively impact their hometown events. It’s about the bottom line. But, remember the consternation when gay icon Cher announced a Downtown Milwaukee performance on the opening night of PrideFest a few years ago? Mind you, her show’s impact on festival attendance would have been negligible but there was still the inevitable drama. The ticket prices alone, $100+ for Cher and $15 for PrideFest, made the decision easy for the vast majority anyway. As things turned out, it was Cher and Cher-alike with the diva’s impersonators on the PrideFest stage and, otherwise, there was coordination between the two attractions. Then last year, the Department of Transportation announced construction at the Hoan Bridge that might have impacted fairground access. Scheduled (albeit if-ily) to end before PrideFest, the season’s first festival at Henry Maier Park, there was still a bit of panic. The grapevine buzzed about changing PrideFest’s dates or even the venue. The handwringing was all for naught. It was a typical same-place, same-time PrideFest as always and with record attendance.

I’m sure the strategy will be to coordinate the various LGBT festivals in support of the Washington march. Perhaps there’ll be live feed video streamed on large screens on the various PrideFest stages and, reciprocally, live shots of Prides around the country on screens at the D.C. march. I’m sure that’s all in the works. Official PrideFest buses will certainly bring a few hundred Wisconsin LGBTs to represent our solidarity.

Here we are faced with a historic moment in our struggle for LGBT equality. Logically, the priority should be a show of force. Still, I haven’t yet seen any announcement of bus caravans to the event organized by our community organizations. It would seem plans to bring a Wisconsin contingent to D.C. should be well underway. After all, the Badger State once led the way for LGBT equality. One would hope there is still some semblance of political energy left to take on the task. The logistics are complicated, of course. It takes time and effort to organize buses, accommodations and all the rest. I hope we’ll be reading about it on social media soon.

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